Nestling amidst the swamps and jungle just north-west of Improbable Central lies Squat Hole, home of the squats. It is often maligned 1), but what 'The Hole' lacks in charm, it more than makes up for in shit, squallor, and downright pig ignorance. It has more culture than its detractors might suggest - did you know for example that squats have seventeen different words for beating someone round the back of the knees with a blunt object?
This monograph aims to give the reader a sound introduction to all aspects of Squat Hole and its people. It is part of Part of Alexander Quandle's Squat Hole Project.
According to local folklore, Squat Hole was first founded by the squat Toerag Skronky. Whilst travelling the jungle in search of free booze and fags 2), Toerag crossed a river, then stopped to camp for the night. After eating some mushrooms that she found growing where she stopped, Toerag went to sleep. That night she was visited by a ghostly baccy packet. She chased the packet up hill and down dale, through swamp and jungle, intent on the free smokes that it offered, until it led her to a rich load of tobacco ore. Toerag was well aware of how to mix baccy ore with phlegm (or in the local vernacular: lung butter) to produce cigarettes, and realised that she'd found something better than a gold mine.
The next day Toerag went and got her family to help her with the mining operation, set up a work camp to house them nearby, but not too nearby, and the rest as they say, is history.
Another local tale tells of the origins of Wanker, one of the local tipples.
According to the legend, one Noxious Smith was travelling in the jungle when he got involved in a fight with a zombie goat who looked at him in a funny way. At the end of a heroic fight, Noxious finished off his opponent with a flying headbutt to the stomach, bursting straight into the zombie goats abdominal cavity, rupturing the gut and covering Noxious with the contents thereof.
Now the zombie goat had been going through a lean patch, and, unable to get its ideal food of brains and flesh, had been having to make do with apples for some days. These had been lying in the gut, mixing with zombie digestive juices, and fermenting into a particularly potent mixture. Noxious Smith got a good few mouth fulls of this mixture, and, enjoying the taste, a few more mouth fulls. He was soon pissed as a fart.
Waking up two days later with a head feeling like it had been trampled on by a heard of rhinocerous which had gone on to shit in his mouth, Smith waited only till his hangover had subsided before rounding up as many zombie goats as he could find. Locking them in a shed, Smith fed them a strict diet of apples only. This was the first succesful production of the well known tipple, and the start of the Noxious Smith Cider Brewery.
Of course, since that day production methods have been refined and nowadays instead of headbutting zombie goats to release the sought after brew, squats knock them over and then kick them in the stomach with hobnail boots.
It's not all work and no play for the squats of Squat Hole 3), there is quite a thriving local scene, there is always something going on in The Hole no matter
what time of the day or night. The following are some of the traditional Squat Hole activities.
Top of the list of any squat activity must be fighting. If at any time there isn't a fight going on in the town
square, then it can be guaranteed that there won't be long to wait until one starts. Squats have developed quite
an extensive vocabulary to describe fighting. I counted eleven different words for kicking and seventeen for hitting
someone round the back of the knees with a blunt object, depending on the intention of the blow, the object used
to hit with, and the outcome of the operation.
If fighting comes top of the list, then drinking comes a close second. You can always find a few squats round the town square passed out and lying in their own vomit. The main drinks of choice for the average squat are Wanker and Meths. If the funds for these tipples are not available, then Mudwisearse is drunk. On special occasions, the local speciality cocktail 'Mudwank' may often be the drink of choice. The legend surrounding the origins of Wanker has already been covered above.
The squats have a musical side to them surprising to those unacquainted with their ways. The most popular
'instrument' is the 'fart horn', that is, flatulence. Outhouse O'Leary in particular is regarded as a virtuoso
at this, and can often be found in one of the many bars in Squat Hole playing the browns. The browns is a form of music unique to Squat Hole, characterised by short stuccato bursts of farting and whining about how the singer doesn't have the money for another pint, has run out of cigarettes, or some other such inconvenience.
The fart horn can be quite dangerous. Quite apart from the semi-toxic (to non-Squats) nature of the instrument, it is not unknown, after an evening's playing, for someone to unwisely try to light a cigarette and accidentally set the venue on fire.
The fart horn can be played by itself, but it is often used as an accompaniment to the traditional Squat Hole Square-dance. In this entertainment Squats pair up and a caller shouts out instructions to inflict violence on each other, which the Squats then enthusiastically carry out. Traditionally this turns into a free for all punch up after only a few calls.4)
Another well known performer round Squat Hole is Verruca Lynn, one of the older generation of Squats. She can be seen and heard from time to time giving outdoor renditions of popular patriotic songs such as There'll Always Be A Squat Hole.
In general females are dominant in society, as one female squat I talked to put it - "We're the
brains, the lads are the muscle, innit?". Certainly, as far as the males go, 'big muscle, small
brains' is generally an accurate description. As for the females, it must be said that whilst 'brains' might be pitching it a bit strongly, they do have a certain low animal cunning.
There are other currents at work in deciding social status, for example almost any member of the
Skronky family is considered higher in social ranking than a non-Skronky, and non-Squats are
almost universally regarded as inferior.5)
There are exceptions to even this however. For example
Sheila (of the Shack of Shiney emporium) is generally respected, if not liked.
Despite a reputation for poor arithmetic ability and general stupidity, there is at least one
family in Squat Hole with the business nous to successfully run commercial concerns. This is the
Skronky family, reputed to be the descendants of Toerag Skronky, the original founder of
Squat Hole, see above. Best known for running the famous 'Skronky Cigarette Mines' which keep the whole of Improbable Island supplied with smokes, their business empire has expanded into
many different areas. It is this family which has given rise to the saying 'As rich as Skronky.'
We start in the natural place, with the members of the Skronky tribe.
The head of the Skronky tribe, and CEO of Skronky enterprises. Sewage is often refered to as
'The Dogmother', although it is apparently the case that this nick-name in no way implies any criminal
behaviour on the part of Sewage. Indeed the possibility is vehemently denied, and several court
verdicts vindicating this viewpoint quoted quite forcefully. The one jury member which I managed
to track down was very keen to back up this assertion, although I wasn't able to question him for
long, as he had an urgent appointment elsewhere.
Rather it seems, the title 'Dogmother' refers to 'Big Su's love of dogs and her unstinting
charitable work raising funds for the Squat Hole Doggymorphs Home, an institution that I was unable to find for interview.
It is very hard to get to meet Sewage, as she is generally far too busy to speak to members of
the general public.
The Skronky Pot collects the lung butter necessary for the cigarettes construction, and so is a core part of the whole Skronky operation. Visitors are advised to be careful, as the collecting pot is famously unstable.
Mildew Skronky is the daughter of Sewage Skronky and manager of The Skronky Pot. She usually leaves the day to day running to the squats under her, however I was lucky enough to catch her at the pot. Mildew Skronky is very diligent at her work, and when there, makes her own contributions to the pot. Indeed, she contributed three times in just the fifteen minutes I spent talking with her, and is now so proficient at hacking up that she could, and routinely did, spit in the pot from a distance of ten feet. Mildew is very proud of this and claims to have won Squat Hole Hacking Trophies for both distance and accuracy three years running, despite strong competition from a number of Squat Hole inhabitants.
Daughter of Sewage Skronky and proprieter of 'Julia's Massage Parlour', Julia has a big welcoming smile as befits her job as madame of the parlour. When this author visited the parlour, for research purposes, he was made to feel very welcome. Julia even kindly let me keep my cigarettes and other valubles secure in the business safe, although unfortunately the combination had been forgotten when I came to leave, (as was pointed out, "Uz squats dunt av much uv uh ed for numbers yer now!"). I feel confident however that once the number is found my cigarettes will be returned straight to me. It must be said, Julia is indeed very bad with numbers, it's been several weeks now, and she still hasn't managed to open the safe!
More recently the Skronkys have branched out into the food industry. Kebabs and Shite is a
cheap cra ouch, ow, stop hitting me, er, reasonable qualit
What? I can't put that, it's a blatant lie! Aiya agh a purveyor of the finest food found
anywhere on the island. K&S is managed by Impudencia Skronky, one of the youngest generation
of Skronkys, who has only relatively recently been given a management position. She is, er, a
kind hearted, er, generous, er,er, what? er, very beautiful squat.
An open sewer running from the town square down to the south gates, this is Squat Hole's main commercial centre, where squats meet daily and sell to each other everything that they stole off each other the night before. Shop Liftin' Avenue is a lively place, filled with all the hussle and bustle that you'd expect in a thriving outpost high street. It is lined with stalls selling all manner of wares, everything from White Lightning cider to complete rubbish; the timber stalls seem to be especially good value for money. Add to this some local colour; squats fighting over everything and anything, the air full of cries of "Mine!" "I saw it furst!" and "Fack orf yu busturd!"; and the ubiquitous aroma of blood, piss and vomit, it all adds up to a vibrant, exciting atmosphere.
One of the few non-multioutpost business' in Squat Hole which isn't run by the Skronky family, the Gym offers excellent value for money physical training.
Hailing from Tunbridge Wells, Tynan himself is a short squat man with a bald head a rather oversized moustache, a most charming manner, and a very bad accent. No-one knows what Tynan's surname really is, and when I asked him for it in an interview, he changed the subject almost immediately. There is a rumour that his name is Tynan Blenkinsop, but that he believes that no-one would take a gym seriously if they knew it was run by a man with such a name.
Close to Squat Hole, just to the west, lies the Pita Semetary. Of course because of this, much of the action of the well known tale 'Romancing the Sammich' occurs in Squat Hole. These have been covered in depth elsewhere and so I won't go into them here.
Squat Hole has provided the muse for some poets. See the ROGUE wiki page.
I feel obliged to point out, on Alexander's behalf, that while he may not be the most streetwise of individuals, he is not quite so naive as an initial reading of this treatise might lead one to suspect. Rather he was aware that the squats, and the Skronkys in particular, might well get someone to read this to them. If this is the case, then it would be diplomatic to leave out some of his thoughts on the persons written about.
In researching this treatise Alexander already endured many tribulations involving loss of property and personal violence, and only the most foolhardy researcher would risk further punishment at the hands of squats who felt themselves to be slighted.